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      January 22, 2019

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IntelliShop vs Market Force

Best Mystery Shopping Programs

To help you find the Best Mystery Shopping, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of IntelliShop and Market Force.

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Who wouldn't love to get paid to shop, eat out, or go to the movies? That may sound too good to be true, but thousands of mystery shoppers across the US and Canada are doing just that: getting paid to visit restaurants, retail stores, and even theme parks in order to provide a customer's perspective on the cleanliness, service, and overall experience at the location.

How does mystery shopping work? Most "secret shoppers", as they are also known, are hired by third-party companies that specialize in helping businesses evaluate their performance. These third-party providers maintain a database of all of the current opportunities in your area, allowing you to apply for the jobs you'd like to do.

Continue reading below reviews

Best Reviews

2019

Mystery Shopping Reviews

3.5 stars
IntelliShop

INTELLI SHOP Visit Site

Types:

Automotive, Banking/Financial, Business-to-Business, Entertainment (theatre, theme park), Fast Food, Gas Station/C-Store, Government, Grocery, Health Care, Home/Apartment, Insurance, Lodging (hotel, motel, inns, etc.), Restaurant F&B (casual & fine dining), Retail - General, Shipping/Freight/Postal, Storage, Telephone, Transportation, Other, Casino/Gaming, Marine, Tourism

IntelliShop is another one of the "old guard" when it comes to mystery shopping. In business since the 1990s, this provider maintains an "A" rating with the Better Business Bureau and was named a 2017 Top Company for Shopper Insights by Quirk's Magazine.

We like the amount of detail offered on the main shopper page. You can expect an application process that involves filling out their form, taking a brief aptitude test, and downloading the apps that they use for shop notifications and verification of your geographic location (the apps are free and optional). There's also a great section that includes four topic areas: News and Alerts, Shopper FAQ, Job Board Basics, and Insite 101. We strongly suggest you take the time to go through those sections, as they contain everything you need to know before applying to work with IntelliShop. The application itself goes through a system known as SASSIE; if you've applied with other mystery shopping companies, you'll find this application to be very familiar.

For newer shoppers, IntelliShop may be a lot to handle. In looking through the five dozen complaints on the BBB site, a common thread seemed to emerge: mystery shoppers who hadn't followed all of the requirements to the letter were being denied payment for their jobs. In an industry like mystery shopping, it is critical that every instruction be followed to the letter in order for the evaluation to be valid and submittable to the end client. While it is absolutely understandable for IntelliShop to have such high standards, we found secret shopper comments in other places saying that their representatives can be overly negative when relaying their concerns on incorrectly-completed shopping assignments.

IntelliShop checks the boxes, so to speak, when it comes to providing thorough information before applying and an easy-to-understand process. They also have a long history in the mystery shopping industry. But, if you're brand-new to being a secret shopper, you'll want to make sure you pay meticulous attention to detail when filling out your shop evaluations in order to have a successful experience.

Visit Site

3.5 stars
Market Force

MARKET FORCE Visit Site

Types:

Banking/Financial, Entertainment (theatre, theme park), Fast Food, Gas Station/C-Store, Grocery, Restaurant F&B (casual & fine dining), Retail - General

As an accredited business with an A+ rating at the BBB and MSPA Shoppers' Choice awards in both 2016 and 2017, MarketForce is a reputable source for mystery shopping jobs today.

When you visit the MarketForce intro page for secret shoppers, you'll find a basic overview of their process, including a demonstration of their mobile app. This app, known as Eyes:On, allows you to search for mystery shopping opportunities as well as submit completed shops from your phone - much easier than trying to remember everything later, and helping you keep your "cover" while walking around the shop (instead of trying to take notes on paper).

Unfortunately, that's the extent of the information they offer prior to creating an account on the MarketForce site. You'll have to create an account in order to see exactly what types of shops are in your area. We went through the account set-up process and found, however, that you can create a dummy account to get a feel for their dashboard and shopper expectations. Fortunately, you don't have to enter your SSN to get to that point, unlike many of the other mystery shopping companies we surveyed.

That means that you can actually see real shops that are available in your area today. For example, when we entered our zip code, we found more than 100 shops that we could apply for, most of which were either burger places, grocery stores, or small retail businesses. This is one of the few mystery shopping sites where you can access that kind of information without providing your SSN, and we definitely recommend you take advantage of that availability.

That also gave us a window into how much MarketForce pays for their shops. We weren't impressed. One shop for a small retail location offered $8, or if the mystery shopper got to a location and found out that it was actually closed, they'd be paid $4. How would you feel if you drove to a location only to find out it was no longer in business? Would $4 cover your gas and time? Probably not.

We also weren't thrilled with what many mystery shoppers had to say about MarketForce's contractor support. We found comments describing how they were unavailable during priority shops and didn't get the answer to the shopper in time to complete the shop, and then the mystery shopper was penalized for a late or incomplete report. Many secret shoppers also say that you should expect MarketForce to be extremely strict when it comes to the quality of your evaluations; misspell a sales associate's name or leave out one answer, and you are likely to not be paid for the shop.

Because of how stressful that would be for new shoppers, we think MarketForce may be a better choice for seasoned mystery shoppers. Their reputation is excellent, as demonstrated by their BBB grade and their Peoples' Choice awards at the MSPA, making MarketForce a solid mystery shopping provider - just maybe not if you're brand new to the industry.

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Continued from above

Sometimes, if there's a high-priority shop near you, you may even receive a direct invitation to do the assignment. Of course, in order to be eligible, you'll likely have to fill out an application to be accepted as a mystery shopper for each provider that interests you.

Payment varies by company; some mystery shops pay you for your time, while others reimburse you for making a purchase that you get to keep. In either case, you'll be expected to fill out some kind of survey or evaluation regarding your experience in order to get paid. Most mystery shopping companies make payments via PayPal, though some still use traditional paper checks for their contractors.

No matter which mystery shopping company you choose, however, you should never have to pay to be a secret shopper: though you can opt for shopper training and certification to increase your chances of being selected for certain jobs, joining a reputable company's shopper database shouldn't cost you anything.

When considering the many different companies that specialize in hiring mystery shoppers, there are several aspects to keep in mind. Some of these include:

  • Selection. How many businesses does the company work with? Do they have any businesses that you'd enjoy reviewing?
  • Transparency. Does the company offer plenty of information upfront about their process for hiring mystery shoppers? Or do you have to give them your information first?
  • Reputation. Does the mystery shopping company have a good track record for quality jobs, on-time payments, and support for their secret shoppers?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best mystery shopping providers available today. We hope this free information gets you on the road to your secret shopping experience right away!

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